Paris-Roubaix – Boonen – It’s one of the last really authentic races”


Tom Boonen is gunning for a record fifth win in Paris-Roubaix, an event he says “It’s one of the last really authentic races in the world”

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Paris-Roubaix – Boonen – It’s one of the last really authentic races”


Photo: OPQS/Tim De Waele

Tom Boonen – gunning for his fifth Roubaix
A winner of four already, Tom Boonen is looking to set a new record for Paris-Roubaix by winning a fifth. Today (Friday), he spent three hours on the cobblestones and saying afterwards, “It was a good recon. It’s not so much the case that the parcours has changed now. It has changed a little bit from last year, but cobblestones are cobblestones”.

“It’s about getting used to the bikes, wheels, everything. It’s better to do it today and go riding for three hours on the cobblestones than be surprised on Sunday”.

Tom is riding a Specialized Roubaix bike and says “You get better on it every year, more experienced. When I look back at my first Paris-Roubaix as a pro, we only changed the tubs, they were 25mm. It was a normal road bike. The same we raced the entire season. When I look now, to these bikes, the evolution is enormous”.

“I’ve been happy I have had something to say in on them. I think I’ve always been riding a good bike for Roubaix. You get so much experience you can carry that knowledge on to when you ride your new bike. The Roubaix bikes we have right now, from Specialized, they’re really close to perfect”.

Talking about Paris-Roubaix and the legendary cobbled sections, he told the media, “In a cobblestone race, there’s not much you can change. The sections don’t change often. They have to use the ones they have. They’re tough enough to have a decent bike race on. I like it, it’s one of the last really authentic races in the world.”
“You can really compare the palmares of 30 and 40 years ago to today. All the other ones have changed. It’s one of the last pieces of old cycling”.

As the pictures from the recon have shown, the conditions are very dry. “It is super dry” says Tom. “It’s really eating dust all day long. Especially today with the motorcycles and the car. You ride 200 kilometers behind them maximum, so you get all of the dust. We’ll be coughing up dust the rest of the night.”

“But it’s best that it doesn’t rain. Because if it does it will be like oil. The cobblestones have so much dust on them. Now the dust makes the race faster. It covers up the really big level differences between the cobblestones. It makes the race faster. We have to see what the wind does now. We’ll see from there how it will be in the race.”

Asked about the chances of his team which was beaten in Tour of Flanders despite dominating much of that race, he says “it’s going to be one of the best teams I’ve started with at Paris-Roubaix.”

“Hopefully we will have a little bit more to say in the real final this time. In the end, you win or lose a Classic. You don’t get 2nd or 3rd place. I hope Sunday we will win. I hope I can maybe get my fifth win, but there are another few guys who really deserve it on this team. So, if someone else gets it on OPQS I will be equally happy”.


World Cyclo-Cross Champion Zdenek Stybar
The rider who now concentrates on the road but still competes a little in ‘cross in the winter explained what the team did on Friday. “We did 85 kilometres. Of course the parcours for the moment, the cobbles, are very dry. It’s a lot of dust”.

“But in the end, I have a pretty good feeling. We will see on Sunday. Two days before the race sometimes I need good training. Today it was not too long but at times it was pretty intensive. On the cobbles, we went pretty fast”.

“I wouldn’t say all out, but fast. I think it’s good for the legs and the body two days before the race to get a wake up, There are only so many important points. I will check up another time all of the parcours on the map, pictures, and all the information we have to think about the race and go to bed with a good feeling”.

“On the cobbles, it’s pretty strange. It’s a lot harder than on the asphalt. But I think we have the best material we could wish for. We have the best tyres, frames, wheels, everything thanks to Specialized, Zipp, SRAM, Quarq, all of our equipment partners. So I don’t think we can complain. I think last week we showed we had the best team, but we have to show not only are we still the best team, but we can also win the race”.

Talking about his experience at Paris-Roubaix, he says “I only raced Paris-Roubaix once, so I’m not really experienced. But we have very experienced guys in the team and I can learn from them, follow them, and ask them questions. Whatever I need. So that’s also really important for me”.

Niki Terpstra – “legs are good”
A rider who has had great form in the Spring Classics but still looking for that really big win is Dutchman Niki Terpstra. “The legs were good today, there was a good recovery from Tour of Flanders. Everyone was going fast, so I think that’s important”.

“All the riders who start here are in good shape. So, that’s a big plus for the upcoming race. Hopefully we will have a lot of riders in the final. That would be perfect.

“Last year I was on the podium. For sure we want to have someone on the podium again. Hopefully it will be on the highest spot. It’s a difficult sprint. I’m used to trying from a 200 metre track and think this one is 400 or 450 meters, that’s twice as long. For the road riders it’s easier, but there’s not a lot of tactics in this sprint. The one who is most fresh in the end will win the sprint”.

“The corners on the cobblestones are really dry. We really have to pay attention. Don’t go fast in, because your wheels could slip”.


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